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716 human rights violations against civilians in Yemen last month

People search for survivors after airstrikes were carried by the Saudi-led coalition over Arhab District of Sanaa, Yemen on 23 August 2017 [Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency]

Hundreds of human rights violations were committed against civilians in Yemen last month, SAM Organisation for Rights and Liberties reported yesterday.

Human rights violations included extra judicial killings, physical assaults, violations of press freedoms, arbitrary detentions, confiscation of properties, forced displacement and torture.

Some 500 violations were connected to the Iranian-backed Houthi fighters, the Geneva-based SAM reported. “Houthis-Saleh militia is responsible for 541 of the total documented violations, Arab Coalition airstrikes 111, 19 by groups loyal to the legitimate government and armed groups in Taiz and Aden, and 15 violations unclaimed, yet at territories controlled by the legitimate power,” SAM’s statement said.

SAM documented that 115 civilians were killed last month with 140 cases of arbitrary detention. This is in addition to the thousands of civilians held by the Houthis and factions loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Read: 50,000 Yemeni children will die by end of the year, says Save the Children

The spokesperson for the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT), the Saudi-led coalition’s investigation unit, however claimed that the coalition is adhering to international law of war whilst executing targets in Yemen, SABA reported yesterday.

In a press conference in Riyadh, Mansour Ahmed Al-Mansour said: “JIAT verified all claims around the military operations which the Arab coalition carries out.” Targeted strikes are “based on precise intelligence,” Mansour continued.

In January 2017, Human Rights Watch wrote a letter to the JIAT, expressing concern that the Saudi-led coalition is “failing to meet international standards regarding transparency, impartiality and independence.”

Riyadh is leading a coalition of Arab states which began launching airstrikes in Yemen in March 2015 to restore to power ousted President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who was driven from the capital in 2014 by Houthi fighters and militias allied with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The Saudi-led coalition has repeatedly executed strikes which have killed civilians, including a civilian building in Faj Attan in the capital Sana’a which killed some 12 people including children. The Saudi-led coalition called the ruthless strike a “technical error”.

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